State law encourages districts to use alternatives to out-of-school suspension or expulsion, such as in-school suspension, behavioral interventions, or restorative practices.
Florida Statutes 1003.32. Authority of teacher; responsibility for control of students; district school board and principal duties.
(4) A teacher may remove from class a student whose behavior the teacher determines interferes with the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with the students in the class or with the ability of the student’s classmates to learn. Each district school board, each district school superintendent, and each school principal shall support the authority of teachers to remove disobedient, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students from the classroom.
(5) If a teacher removes a student from class under subsection (4), the principal may place the student in another appropriate classroom, in in-school suspension, or in a dropout prevention and academic intervention program as provided by s. 1003.53; or the principal may recommend the student for out-of-school suspension or expulsion, as appropriate. The student may be prohibited from attending or participating in school-sponsored or school-related activities. The principal may not return the student to that teacher’s class without the teacher’s consent unless the committee established under subsection (6) determines that such placement is the best or only available alternative. The teacher and the placement review committee must render decisions within 5 days of the removal of the student from the classroom.
Florida Statutes 1006.09. Duties of school principal relating to student discipline and school safety.
(b) The principal or the principal’s designee may suspend a student only in accordance with the rules of the district school board. The principal or the principal’s designee shall make a good faith effort to immediately inform a student’s parent by telephone of a student’s suspension and the reasons for the suspension. Each suspension and the reasons for the suspension shall be reported in writing within 24 hours to the student’s parent by United States mail. Each suspension and the reasons for the suspension shall also be reported in writing within 24 hours to the district school superintendent. A good faith effort shall be made by the principal or the principal’s designee to employ parental assistance or other alternative measures prior to suspension, except in the case of emergency or disruptive conditions which require immediate suspension or in the case of a serious breach of conduct as defined by rules of the district school board.
Florida Statutes 1006.13 Policy of zero tolerance for crime and victimization.
(1) District school boards shall promote a safe and supportive learning environment in schools by protecting students and staff from conduct that poses a threat to school safety. A threat assessment team may use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies to address disruptive behavior through restitution, civil citation, teen court, neighborhood restorative justice, or similar programs. Zero-tolerance policies may not be rigorously applied to petty acts of misconduct. Zero-tolerance policies must apply equally to all students regardless of their economic status, race, or disability.